Dear family, friends, and first-time followers alike,
It’s weird to think I’m not writing this post not from my house in New York, or from my University of Delaware apartment, or from the Brew Ha Ha Café on Newark’s Main Street. Nope, I’m writing this from a coffee shop in London, England- my home for the next four months!
It’s been…wow…has it really been that long?!….19 days since my plane from JFK touched down at London Heathrow. A lot can happen in 19 days, which is probably why it’s taken me so long to finally sit down and reflect on this experience.
But before I even begin to talk about the present, I want to talk about the past, and what went through my head as I stepped on that plane on the evening of January 12th:
What the hell have I gotten myself into?
Here’s the secret about studying abroad that no one ever tells you: the prospect of actually going through with it is the scariest thought in your entire life. Don’t get me wrong, when I got my acceptance letter I was immediately excited at the idea of spending months in one of the greatest cities in the world. But then reality set in: I was about to leave everything and everyone I know behind for months on end to start over in a country I knew absolutely nothing about. Who wouldn’t be scared?!
As I sat on the plane that evening waiting for takeoff, I felt a mix of so many emotions it’s hard to even name them all-excitement, sadness, nerves, frustration, happiness, calm, denial and, ultimately, an overpowering sense of fear. Yet once I recognized that I was afraid, I realized I had made the right decision.
Here’s the thing about life that college is teaching me: you are never going to follow your dreams if you aren’t willing to take on the challenges that scare you most. Accepting that I was leaving my life behind for a semester was horrifying, but it was something I knew was a critical part of living my life to the fullest and exposing myself to things I couldn’t possibly imagine. And so when the plane finally took off and I watched the lights of New York, my home for twenty years, disappear into the distance, I knew I was ready.
19 days later, I’ve had so many unthinkable adventures in the city across the pond that I am proud to call my new home. There is no way I could summarize them all in one blog post, but rest assured there will be many more to come.
For now, take a look at the Storify I put together highlighting my favorite moments in London thus far. I hope my journey inspires you to study abroad, travel the world, and ask yourself as we continue to move into 2016: what would you do if you weren’t afraid?
And of course, follow along using #PaxAbroad on social media. Yes, I made my own hashtag, how else would a social media strategist tell her story?
With love from London,